You’d have to be living in a cave not to know Starbucks Coffee has stores all over the world, but did you know that there are limited edition Starbucks tumblers and mugs that are only available in certain countries? Among those much-in-demand merchandising items, the one often said to be the cutest and most desirable comes from Russia.

On a recent trip there, we decided to check them out for ourselves. Entering the shop, we immediately clapped eyes on them! Designed to resemble traditional Russian matryoshka, or nesting dolls, these tumblers were a hot cupful of cute. It would be hard to see one and not want to put your morning latte in it. They come in three sizes, and lined up next to each other, they looked so much like real matryoshka, I couldn’t resist buying the set.

The design is so popular, the staff like to joke that they sell more tumblers than they do coffee. That’s probably something of an exaggeration, but while I was in the store, quite a few other customers were unable to resist the appeal of the matryoshka. One tumbler costs between 400 and 430 rubles (about $14), so they are reasonably priced for souvenirs.

However, Russia is not an easy country to visit. It’s not just that a visa is required, but in order to obtain one, you have to submit a detailed itinerary. Essentially, if you are not traveling with a tour agency, it can be very difficult. This has led to a resale market in Japan for these popular tumblers, so collectors need not even bother going abroad.

In any event, these little dolls are certainly cute, so if you are making the trip to Russia, you’ll definitely want to pick some up. Unlike real matryoshka dolls though, they are a bit bulky, so I recommend buying them just before you leave.

[ Read in Japanese ]